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For the first time in San Jose Public Library’s history, more than half of the city’ public libraries are open to patrons on Sundays.

Starting this month, community members can now visit 16 of the 24 neighborhood branch locations seven days a week.

The expansion comes after the City Council voted to expand the library’s operating budget for the 2022-23 fiscal year, made in direct response to the public’s request for libraries to be open on Sundays.

Mayor Sam Riccardo and city library officials kicked off the expansion of hours at the Berryessa Branch Library with a community countdown and free ice cream sundaes, courtesy of Mister Softee.

We know that increasing availability to our libraries, especially in our lower-resourced communities, creates a pathway for success among students, job seekers, families, and community members,” said Liccardo in a statement.

The Sunday library services is launching as a pilot program, meant to understand the specific services needed for Sundays. SJPL plans to report back to City Council on their findings in 2023.

Alongside SJPL’s main location, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. Library in downtown San Jose, the following branch libraries will be open from noon to 5 p.m. on Sundays: Albiso, Dr. Roberto Cruz-Alum Rock, Bascom, Berryessa, Biblioteca Latinoamericana, Cambrian, East San Jose Carnegie, Edenvale, Education Park, Evergreen, Gillview, Joyce Ellington, Seven Trees, Tully Community, Vineland and West Valley.

San Jose City Librarian Jill Bourne thanked the Library Foundation, Library and Education Commission, and friends of the library groups for advocating for this “significant milestone.”

“For years, our community members, particularly families, have asked that we increase access on Sundays, so we’re excited to finally be able to make it happen,” said Bourne.